Step 1 - Soil Testing

Getting the right soil pH is a corner stone in building a nice lawn. If the pH is off the grass cannot up take nutrients. Grass seed may grow and look good for a while but eventually it will die off. This is so important that The Maryland Department of Natural Resources requires lawn care professionals to test the pH and show that the are taking steps to maintain it. This law, the nutrients act of 2001, is a derivative of the Clean Water Act. The Soil testing also gives us useful information about how compacted the soil is and the nutrient levels.

Step 2 - Getting the pH Right

Once the tests are complete we apply the correct amount of lime to your lawn. The amount needed can vary greatly. I have seen lawns with needs ranging from 15 to 145 lbs. per 1000 sq. Ft. The most you can apply at one time is 50 lbs per 1000 sq. Ft. When applying lime we usually recommend aeration at the same time to help the lime get into the soil. Aeration is always good. We will talk more about that next. Last thing, be aware that it takes 3-6 months for lime to actually get in and change the pH of the soil. If your pH is off, you need to wait before you seed. Otherwise you are throwing your money away by seeding.

Step 3 - Aeration, Aeration, Aeration

Almost every soil test I have run has shown compacted soil. Aeration helps to correct this. As cores are taken from the ground the surrounding soil expands to fill the openings. The result is looser soil that water and nutrients can more deeply penetrate. The roots from your grass now have to travel deeper to get water and nutrients thus the grass is healthier and more drought resistant.

When a lawn is compacted the water and nutrients cannot get in. The roots of the grass stay near the surface as that is where water and nutrients are. This is the biggest cause of thatch and thatch promotes disease and unwelcome insects to your lawn. Additionally , with the roots near the surface, your lawn is more acceptable to damage from droughts and from foot traffic

Step 4 - Fertilization

Your lawn needs to be fed. Spring, when your grass is actively growing and Fall when the roots are actively growing is the best times to feed your lawn. Do not fertilize in the summer as you can burn out your lawn and always use a slow release fertilizer.

Step 5 - Seeding

Many time people want to start at this step. To avoid wasting time and money sure everything else is right before you seed. Pick a quality grass seed. Cheap seeds give you cheap results. Seed in the Spring or Fall. Seed along with a starter fertilizer for best results.

When we seed we do it a number of different ways depending on what is best for your lawn. Most times seeding along with aeration is the best way to go. If a lawn needs some extra attention, we use a machine called a lawn renovator. It drops the seeds as tines cut through the thatch and into the soil creating better seed to soil contact and increasing the chance of germination. It is similar to raking the yard with a hard metal rake. We also will de-thatch a yard and blow out all of the thatch and dead grass before we seed. This method is more effective, but more expensive. We can work with you to determine what is best for your lawn.

Step 6 - Watering

This is the step we cannot help you with, but here are some tips.

- Water in the mornings as evening watering promote disease.

- Water new grass lightly but consistently.

- It takes an entire year for new grass to be established. Keep this in mind during the dry periods of the year.

- During the summer months if we have dry conditions only water if you plan to continue watering. Sporadic light watering during a drought is worse than not watering. During a drought grass will go dormant and last for a while. This is interrupted by light watering and can actually kill the grass. Watering during a drought needs to be about 2” of water every 10 to 14 days


There are times when the use of pesticides are warranted. I believe that you can have a healthy acceptable lawn by following the steps listed here. I personally have concerns about the effects of the pesticides on your pets and children, my employees and our environment. I would be happy to answer any questions about these concerns and explain why we avoid the use of pesticides.

Lawn Cutting - Tips

- Never cut off more than 1/3 the height of your grass.

- Never cut grass that is really wet. It promotes damage.

- Do not over cut in dry times. You are killing the lawn.

- Do not cut your lawn too short, especially in the summer.

- Make sure the lawn mower blades are sharp.

- Use mulching mowers whenever possible.

- Do not pour gas into a mower that is sitting on the lawn



Dave's Lawn Service


“Where tree work is an art”

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David D. Kull   *   301-482-2626   *   *   MD Tree Expert Lic. # 1020

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